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‘Put tutoring at the heart of the education landscape, or risk a generation of children falling behind’

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‘Put tutoring at the heart of the education landscape, or risk a generation of children falling behind’

– Children’s Commissioner, cross-party politicians and charities call on Government

Senior figures including England’s Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel De Souza, Chair of the Education Select Committee Robin Walker MP, former Education Secretary the Rt Hon. the Lord Blunkett and Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, Munira Wilson MP – are calling for 10 million hours of tutoring to be funded over the next Parliament to narrow the widening attainment gap and support young people’s declining mental health.

Despite the evidence that just 12 hours of tutoring can drive three months of additional progress, and with pupils still lagging two months behind pre-pandemic levels of attainment, the Government has decided to scrap funding for the National Tutoring Programme at the end of next year.

The coalition, led by charities Impetus, Action Tutoring, The Tutor Trust and Get Further are asking for the Government instead to scale up and implement the learning from the National Tutoring Programme, targeted at pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, who need the most support.

This coincides with new research from Public First, which reveals that aside from its benefits for catching up on lost learning, tutoring can also support the post pandemic crisis of pupil mental health and attendance.

Teachers reported that tutoring led to increased confidence, better pupil engagement in the classroom and reduced anxiety. This is backed up by 85% of parents who said tutoring had positively impacted their child’s confidence, with 68% saying it had improved attendance.

The research also found that parents and pupils are overwhelmingly in favour of tutoring, with 77% of parents who were polled supporting an increase in tutoring provision, and 73% who think that the government should pay for tutoring for pupils from low income backgrounds – a view shared by parents across all socio-economic groups.

Endorsing the call for joint action, Dame Rachel De Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England said:

“It is vitally important that children and young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, get the help they need to be able to succeed in life and play their part in improving the world around them. Tutoring is an intervention that is proven to help children catch up on lost learning and also support their wider needs, like improving attendance and protecting mental health. Tutoring can play a central role in unlocking the ambition of England’s children, if we deliver a Fair Tutoring Future.”

Robin Walker MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee and former Schools Minister said:

“Tutoring is a vital and proven intervention for providing effective catch up support at school and, used effectively, it can make a huge difference for children’s life chances. I have seen some excellent examples of tutoring and hope that the lessons learned from the National Tutoring Programme can ensure that it is used even more effectively in the future. Embedding tutoring into the education landscape as we move forward will be vital if we are to close the gap in attainment for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Former Education Secretary, The Rt Hon. the Lord Blunkett, said:

“This and other substantive and credible research has demonstrated that long Covid has hit young people where it damages them most: in their educational experience.

A reshaped and properly invested tutoring programme is not only essential for re-engaging young people post Covid, but also to provide direct equality of access to essential out of classroom support. Those who can afford it, provide it, those who can’t clearly don’t.

It is the most stark and challenging divide, underlining societal disadvantage, and we are seeing it reinforced in the availability of extra help and tuition, but only for the few and not the many.”

Munira Wilson MP, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for education said:

“Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds have fallen further behind their peers during the pandemic, and are at risk of staying there unless the government reverses its decision to remove its funding for schools and colleges to use tutoring. We stand by this call for tutoring to be fully funded so that schools can support the children who have suffered most during the pandemic to reach their full potential.”

Leading the call are four charities committed to closing the gap for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Susannah Hardyman, CEO and founder of Action Tutoring said:

“This report, like many others, has again attested to tutoring as a central plank in education recovery efforts, with parents as well as teachers confirming the significant progress in the performance and confidence of their children receiving tutoring support .

More than ever, long-term funding for the National Tutoring Programme is needed to make tutoring a permanent fixture in the education system in order to tackle the widening attainment gap, persistent absence, and to help chart a better future for all young people across the country.”

Sarah Waite, CEO and founder of Get Further said:

“Tutoring is one of the most effective interventions in today’s education toolkit. This new report shows just how much tutoring has boosted the attainment and confidence of young people since the launch of the nationwide tutoring policies three years ago.

With such a positive impact the Government should extend its investment in tutoring beyond August 2014, ensuring all young people from disadvantaged backgrounds can access high-quality tutoring throughout the education system.”

Ed Marsh, CEO of The Tutor Trust said:

“Tutoring has become a vital part of our education system and makes an impactful difference in tackling disadvantage. Today’s report demonstrates how crucial it is to retain this advantage for young people who are still suffering the effects of a global pandemic and a disrupted education.

We urge all parties to commit to prioritise tutoring going forwards so it is available based on need rather than parental ability to pay. Now more than ever we need to level the playing field and it is unarguable that tutoring plays a critical role in this.”

Ben Gadsby, Head of Policy and Research at Impetus, a founding partner of the National Tutoring Programme, said:

“With the attainment gap widening and attendance in schools significantly below pre-pandemic levels hundreds of thousands of young people are at risk of falling even further behind.

“Three years on from the inception of the National Tutoring Programme it is more important than ever that the government recommits to putting tutoring at the heart of the education landscape so that all schools are able to take up one of the best evidenced interventions for making accelerated progress to support the pupils who need it most.”

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